Meet every yogi and yoginis’ perfect meal…Kitchari
Kitchari has been a part of my life since I was a young child growing up in Kenya. As part of a big Pakistani family, our dinner table was always filled with a beautiful blend of aromas and spices. In Pakistan, kitchari is considered a meal for those who are sick or weak.
My mother and my grandmother used to make it for me. It’s a beautiful family tradition and I am honored to pass it on to my child now.
Kitchari is an Ayurvedic meal that is both balancing and nutritious and contains only lentils and rice. Kitchari has been a staple food in parts of India, Pakistan, Kashmir and other neighboring countries for the past 10,000 years.
There are tons of benefits of eating this healing goodness, like:
- It’s packed with protein – Kitchari contains over 20 essential amino acids to make it a “complete protein”
- It’s cleansing and detoxifying – In fact, some people have been known to go on a Kitchari cleanse, eating only Kitchari for 7-10 days. If you are interesting in doing this cleanse, please talk to your health professional first!
- It stabilizes blood sugar levels – As someone with PCOS, I know how important it is to keep a constant blood-sugar level. Kitchari is high in protein and low in fat, making it the perfect meal for those who are diabetic or have insulin resistance.
- It heals the gut – Kitchari moves slowly through the digestive tract, thus removing toxins along the way. If you have been nauseous or having digestive issues, kitchari is a great soothing food for your gut.
- It’s a spiritual food – “Kitchari was…fed to monks and ascetics to help create a sense of stillness in which we gain greater access to old toxic emotional and behavior patterns. This is also why kitchari is the food of choice of Panchakarma, Ayurveda’s deepest detox retreat.”
I love cooking Kitchari. I love cooking the spices and putting love into the dish. I love cooking with my hands and feeling the rice and the lentils before they go into the pot. There is something very healing and spiritual about making this power packed food.
When I make Kitchari, I add some fresh ginger, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and cilantro. When it’s cooked, I add a dollop of yogurt or vegan yogurt. I feel so nourished and spiritually cleansed every time I eat this meal. It’s a blessing in a bowl.
Here’s the recipe:
- 3 cups split yellow mung dahl beans (do not buy whole mung beans or split peas)
- 3 cups white basmati rice
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger root
- 1 tsp each: black mustard seeds, cumin, and turmeric powder
- 3 cloves
- 7-10 cup water
- Handful of salt
- 3 tablespoons of butter or ghee
- 1 small handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- In a pot of water, soak the yellow mung dahl beans for about 20 minutes
- In the meantime, begin to chop your ginger and cilantro leaves (place aside)
- Pour out the water from the mung dahl and place the dahl in a large pot
- Rinse the rice three to four times with water to get impurities and extra starch out of it
- Add the rice to the dahl and add the 7-10 cups of water (the water should cover the mung dahl and rice significantly)
- Bring mixture to a slow boil (10 minutes)
- After boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow the mixture to cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the beans and rice are soft.
- In a separate pan, add the butter or ghee. Put on very low heat and add all your spices: turmeric, cumin, and black mustard seeds. Allow the spices to crackle and pop to release their flavor. (Do not overcook as the butter will burn and so will the spices, keep the heat low)
- Add the cilantro and ginger right before serving
- For flavor, add a dollop of yogurt, greek yogurt, vegan yogurt, or sour cream right before serving